Kent invites tenders for rural fast broadband scheme

By Nicola Brittain
17 May 2011 View Comments
A view of UK countryside

Kent County Council has tendered for a framework agreement that aims to extend broadband to the area's more remote rural communities.

The council said it plans to spend £44.3m over the course of the 36-month contract.

Further reading

The funding will comprise £1.5m from the council's Regeneration Superfast Broadband Pilot,  £800,000 from the Community Broadband Grant Programme and an estimated £42m over four years from Broadband Delivery UK, the body created by the government last December to oversee public- and private-sector investment in fibre points for every community in the UK.

The contract will be split into four lots: fibre, other wired, wireless, and innovative/emerging submissions. Applications may be made for one, some or all lots.

The framework is expected to commence on 15 August and will be reviewed every 12 months. It may also be extended for a total of a further 36 months.

The council said it embarked on the project after its analysis showed that in rural parts of Kent 6.6 per cent of households do not currently have broadband access while 40 per cent fail to meet the 2Mbit/s Digital Britain target.

According to experts, private sector initiatives such as BT's Next Generation Access programme are only likely to deliver fast broadband to 60-70 per cent of the country, with users in rural areas likely to miss out unless rollouts receive publicly funded subsidies.

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